Old Man Winter holds City of Austin in Icy Grip
The winter of ’08-’09 roared through central Texas with a vengeance last night plunging temperatures to the low 30s and setting up a scary scenario for travelers and commuters on Wednesday as the chill is not expected to rise above much above 50 degrees. Several minutes of snow in some areas last night left the morning rush hour drivers confused when they saw distinct evidence of small ice crystals left on their car roofs and windshield wipers.
Burton Fitzsimons, morning T.V. weatherman said “We’re advising people to take it slow, or not come to work at all if they are not really needed. While we have no ice on the streets, there is always a chance the cold front might confuse people, especially if they try to find out how to turn on the their car heaters while they are driving .That’s the kind of thing that really snarls traffic and can even result in a fender bender.”
The weather was the talk of the town. “it’s another brutal Austin winter” commented 61 year old William Allensworth as he tugged at a blue pullover sweater he had been forced to wear over his normal polo shirt to protect himself from the cold. “I’d like to hear what those scientists have to say about global warming now.” he sneered, causing uproarious laughter among those drinking coffee at Randall’s Super Market. Several old men in the crowd commented that the young folks today did not know what cold was. “In my day” said one old coot, “we’d have three or four days a winter where you had to wear a sweater, or even a coat if you had one. One year it did not get back into the 80s until February.” A careful check of weather records did not back up this claim.
Tuesday had been a normal December day in Austin, with a high of 81, the front caught many people unaware. “I’m out by the pool” said Lila Cummings, “and I noticed that I was not getting much sun. Before I knew it, it was in the 60s out there and I had to rush in to cover up and turn on the heat, even then I never dreamed that it would get as bad as it did.” Austin Police said that those foolish enough to be on the road last night became panic stricken at the sight of white flakes coming from the sky. Several pulled over to the road shoulder and braved the night, even though the snow stopped falling after about ten minutes. The Red Cross rushed in this morning and gave each stranded motorist a coupon good for coffee and a breakfast tacito at the local Whataburger. With three to four abandoned cars left just off of I-35, plans were being made to ask the Governor to declare the existence of a state of emergency and perhaps martial law to quell possible looting.
Citizens searched in vain for good news this morning, but the weather man could promise no relief in sight until Friday and even then, the temperature was expected to climb only to the low 70s ”Until then we will just have to muddle through” commented the ever optimistic Burton Fitzsimons,” People up north, in places like Dallas face this every year.” Despite this hopeful forecast, many in Austin are wondering if the time has come to get out of a town where winters can be so unforgiving. Austin’s loss may be Brownsville’s gain.